by Thankful Daniels
Greetings! In the most unlikely chance that ye may be the slightest bit curious as to who I am, allow me to introduce myself. My Christian name is Thankful Daniels; a good Calvinist name and one for which I truly am Thankful. Why do I feel gratitude for such a name? Aside from the frightening reality that I could have been named 'Chastity' or 'Deliverance' (dependent upon my mother's mood and the Reverend's disposition the night I was born), my name makes me feel important and charitable. A real 'feel good' name. As everyone knows, most of us will at some point either be bless'd or curs'd with a shorten'd, illicit version of our given name; what people like to refer to as a 'nickname.' Now, it seems to me, though no one will readily admit it, that this recent, though common, habit of using a 'nickname' over a given name is nothing more than a cover-up for slothish speech & lack of manner. Think about it. Why would anyone decline to address another by their full and actual name if it weren't just too much trouble to go the extra syllable or two or three? Why say 'Beth' in the stead of 'Elizabeth' or 'Ab' in place of 'Abigail' if it weren't merely a matter of inexcusable laziness & casual manner? I could have been going through life known as 'Chaz' or 'Deli' had I been so unfortunately nam'd, not to mention the stigma & mockery I would have borne had I been unsuitably christen'd 'Jacqueline' ... Jackie Daniels! 'Tis not all bad, however, to have our cheapened, short-cut, bastardized, no-frills aliases. Which brings me back to why I'm thankful for being Thankful. In their hapless pursuit of cheating, most everyone calls me 'Thanks'! What a grace to have bountiful gratitude express'd each and every day. "Hey, Thanks!" ... "Yes, Thanks!" ... "Yo, Thanks!" And even when I am (regrettably) rebuff'd or deny'd, it is done in a courteous, gracious manner. "No, Thanks." 'Tis very easy on the ego, for which, I'm thankful.
I told ye Thankful was my Christian name. I also have my Delaware name, given to me by my nu'hum (grandmother) who is ... right! ... Delaware. There is something ye ought to know about those Delaware. They are as superstitious about name giving as are the Calvinists. Not at all willing to offer a name simply by virtue of its phonetic virtue, they, too, possess a propensity for heavy hand'd symbolism. Every thing must be decipher'd, ponder'd, & interpret'd. 'Tis never so simple as "'Tis a girl! Her name is ...." Noooooooooo. That would be too pointless, too ordinary. When I was Thankfully born, my nu`hum, in her understandable excitement, accidentally knock'd over a bowl of beads my mother had plac'd on the bedstand. Of course, Nu`hum did not think it an accident. It had to mean SOMETHING! Anything would do in such a circumstance - as long as it reflect'd Nu'hum's ability to see the "sign." So, my name? Masha`pilo`kasXkwe ... "Bead-Bowl-Woman." 'Tis true. Fortunately, Nu`hum took pity on me when I grew a bit older & gave me a new, improv'd, shorter, though equally meaningful, nickname ... AsXuh`tetXkwe ... "Miserable Brat." Oh well, everything can not be as perfect as we wish it to be. For that, I'm Thankful.
I shall be writing more notes from the trail soon to tell you ALL about Goody Tew Shoes (ha ha ha) & her School For Young Ladies (from which I was most unjustly expell'd) & what Reverend Wheelock is really like. I hope to share some experiences & observations of my laborious, tedious, drab days in these New England Colonies & I promise to write about life in Mohicanland as I see it. Till then, be well. For that, I'm Thankful.
Thought I might write a bit about my family & their trees. I shall start with my mother's side of the family since her family's tree is more deeply rooted in this soil. My mother's name is Aagje Daniels; half Delaware (as you already know by virtue of being Nu`hum's daughter) & half Dutch. Her father, Jacob Vink, escap'd from one of those poltroon's patroons in the Hudson Valley & fled to Penn's Colony. (Though Nu'hum does protest this land title by virtue of her own eyes seeing the infamous thievery in the wood. "Walking Purchase, indeed! They slither'd quickly through like thieves in the night!" says Nu'hum.) After tinkering about for two nights and a bit Jacob met Nu`hum ...
As I was starting to say, Grandpapa Vink met Nu`hum while wandering the woods & settlements of Penn's Colony. Nu`hum was a very resourceful, strong will'd woman who was determin'd to have her way ... once she decid'd which way her way was. When she saw this "Dushee man" & his various wares in her village one day, she thought him not only a handsome man but, and not insignificantly, a wealthy one to boot. Sooooo ... she had to think of some way to catch his attention ... fast!
What did she do? She ran to her wik-wam, threw on a strand of Kekok, dabb'd some red ochre on her cheeks, eyes, & forehead & casually strutted out as if a Dushee man were an every day occurrence. First passing by Jacob the Tinker Trader without so much as a by your leave, Nu'hum whirl'd about & gave him a steely-eyed once over. She walk'd up to him, look'd at his copper pots & brass buttons, frown'd at his English Tea & French Silver Trinkets, & she spit on his boot. "E`kaliu!" In case you don't happen to be poly-lingual and consequently, fail to grasp the feminine power of Nu'hum's seductive words, she said, "Go away!" She did. I do feel compell'd to caution that this is not an advisable course of action for a young lady wishing to gain favor with a gentleman. But, in Nu`hum's case ... it work'd! From that day forward, the Dushee man defend'd her only because he had become infatuat'd with her.
Obviously Jacob married this intriguing woman who really knew how to light his fire & tan his hide ... not to mention her gardening, cooking, sewing, quilling, beading, drying, harvesting, pounding, sugaring, pot making, reed weaving, and numerous other I'm not to mention skills. Besides, she had such a way with words. For Grandpapa Jacob's part, he provid'd for Nu'hum very well & even became a fairly skill'd hunter. Of course, Nu'hum had more copper kettles than one person could use so she open'd her own Trade business. That's how she first met Goody Tew Shoes.
More about that & other gossip next time. Meanwhile, I'm thankful they met ...
Greetings! I know I've not written for a very long time. I'm sure ye will understand once ye consider my recent situation. I would surely have written sooner had I the chance. Surely I would have. Alas, I had none. I had been taken captive by two very mean, very rude Ottawa whilst I was gathering of our harvest. Stolen away before I had finish'd digging the root crops. Ye can not imagine how upset I was at this inexcusable, untimely, ill-manner'd, disharmonious behavior. Anyway, I did try to write whilst I was in captivity but the two Ottawa refused my request for ink. They CLAIM'D they had none. Now, that made me really mad. I knew they had some. I could see it all over their faces that they were lying. "Ha!" said I as I point'd to the blacken'd faces of my captors. "THAT," I chid'd, "is ink. Where is it?" I demand'd to know. Oh, they tri'd to play dumb but I wasn't fool'd for a moment. Not at all. They got a bit testy at that point and threaten'd to kill me. I wasn't fool'd though. I knew they were just saying that to shut me up. So, I call'd their bluff. "Ha! Ye will not kill me. How do I know?" I ask'd. "Because ye won't." The two Ottawa act'd very odd then. They both look'd at me like I was stark-raving mad. Well, I was! I was REALLY mad. I was waaaay behind with harvest, I was tir'd of getting dragg'd about like a stray puppy, and most annoying, I hadn't any ink! Not a drop. So, I decid'd I need'd to do something about this ridiculous circumstance. I took my quill pen and I jabb'd one of the Ottawa in the eye. It didn't do any real harm. He blink'd before I could really make my point. But, maybe they knew I meant business.
Or they could have gotten weary of hearing my inky complaints because the next morn, after choking down a bit of Sa`pan, I walk'd over to the two Ottawa and demand'd they either give me the ink or let me return home to get my own. To be sure they knew how serious I was, I held my quill pen menacingly whilst I made my very reasonable demand. I want'd to be a bit intimidating so I said something threatening like, "Ink or sink." I'm not sure exactly if that's EXACTLY what I said exactly, but no matter. It work'd. They yell'd something, I couldn't understand what it was, and then threw up their hands. "Go!" said one of the two Ottawa. "Go, crazy woman! Go!" Ha! Just like that they had realiz'd their folly. So, I walk'd one way and the two Ottawa walk'd the other way. "Fine," I snapp'd as I mov'd away. "I'll have my own ink shortly and I will tell everyone about your rude behaviour." I don't know if this bother'd the two Ottawa at all but it did make me feel better. Just for good measure, I decid'd to insult the two Ottawa and call them something REALLY bad. "Goody Tew Shoes!" I yell'd. This may have had the desir'd effect because as soon as I said that, the two Ottawa both scream'd, "NO!" and hurri'd away.
I guess they've met.
Anyway, I do promise to tell ye all about Goody Tew Shoes next time. Now that I have my ink I can pen more notes. For that, I'm Thankful!
I have been away a long while, have I not? My most sincerest apologies, though, in truth, it could not be help'd. As it was, I, Thankful Daniels, had not one moment to pen my thoughts or share the colony gossip. It was a long winter & for me, particularly, it was most discomforting & distressful. First, just as winter was setting in, Reverend Wheelock came to our village to hibernate. As unpleasant as that may be, I didn't mind all that much as I suppos'd he'd take up bed at MacLachlan's Tavern & find himself most preoccup'd with the spirit'd atmosphere of the Scotsman's establishment. As misfortune would have it, MacLachlan & Reverend Wheelock found themselves lock'd in a most ungentlemanly scuffle within hours of the reverend's arrival. Though I am regrettably not privy to each scandalous detail, I do know a bit. I suppose ye'd be interest'd in hearing of it so I shall tell ye what I know straight away.
As I heard it, the reverend had been traveling a long while, having depart'd from the Stockbridge community where he'd been scouting for candidates agreeable to the restrictions of his school for the King's English. By the time he reach'd MacLachlan's, he was mightily wanting for drink. Accordingly, he request'd his fare & commenc'd to take more drink than surely he should have. Master MacLachlan had his eye on the poor preacher from the start, especially so once he notic'd the reverend had HIS eye on the tavern wench from the start. Since her name be Mistress MacLachlan, more than spruce & ale was brewing this eve. Things came to a head & fists came to a blow when the reverend irreverently invit'd Mistress MacLachlan to remove her shortcoat & join him in song. In truth, it weren't all the reverend's fault things came to such a scandal. Mistress MacLachlan's ready removal of not only her shortcoat, but also her petticoat, boots, stockings, & pinner cap, along with her invite to "dance atop the table" surely fir'd up Master MacLachlan's temper. Afore anyone knew what was occurring, MacLachlan broke a flask of good rum over the reverend's already heady head & the reverend return'd the favor with a well landed left hook. The two went tumbling about the tavern floor whilst Mistress MacLachlan had a good laugh & another tankard. She was shortly sent away to her bedchamber by the blood'd but not dead husband.
T'was bad, to be sure, but worse was yet to come. Ol' Goody Tew Shoes just happen'd to be passing by at the very exact moment Reverend Wheelock went rolling out MacLachlan's establishment. Ever ready to meddle & connive, Goody went straight away to the reverend pretending she could offer ministrations for his complaints, but truly, I know her intentions were most sinister.
As ye know, Nu'hum & Goody Tew Shoes are none too fond of one another, their disagreeable acquaintance having been made many ages ago. Seeing as Reverend Wheelock was in much need of a bed, Goody quickly took the opportunity to suggest he permit himself to be board'd at the home of Nu'hum ... MY home! After first badgering the reverend for every lurid detail of the tavern tussle & offering her own peculiar brand of a sermon on the wickedness of Mistress MacLachlan & 'her Scots breed,' she spirit'd the poor man off to our once peaceable home.
Upon arrival, Goody push'd poor Reverend Wheelock from her wagon with the heel of her boot & bade him a good winter's sleep. Now, though Nu'hum was no more pleased to discover a drunken, bleeding Reverend Wheelock upon our entryway than was Mama, Papa, or myself, she had no choice but to offer him hospitality.
The first day weren't too bad as the reverend remain'd bedridden & asleep. On the second day, he was feeling a great deal of improvement & eagerly accepted broth, tea, & boiled greens. By evening, the reverend's appetite improv'd notably & he plac'd an order for meat, stewed squash, & heavy grain - as if he'd been seat'd at the tavern table! Nu'hum was not pleased & she set to preparing a "special supper for the spoilt minister."
When she put before the reverend a large bowl at supper, he rose up & yell'd. "What's this, woman? I ask for substance & you bring me soup!" Nu'hum stood a moment, tapping her moccasin & shaking her head before replying thusly; "Looky here, reverend, this is not a publick house nor is it our business to provide for every man's wants. As it is, ye want'd meat, squash, & heavy grain. So ye have it. All boiled together to a porridge for ease of digestion. Go on & eat, man."
With that, Nu'hum left the reverend to grumble to himself. But oh! How he went on all night about his poor empty belly & our Christian duty! By the third day, Nu'hum was juuuuuuuust slopping the Sa'pan in his bowl and quickly as she could, leaving the wretch'd reverend to keep his own counsel.
"E`kaliu, AsXuh`tet!" This is all she'd say to our house guest by the fourth day. But I, Thankful Daniels, had quite enough of the belly aching coming from the reverend's room. I resolv'd to remove myself promptly to a quieter, more suitable place for the duration of his stay. So, with blanket, water gourd, candles & a few necessaries, I took shelter in the root cellar. 'Twas not too bad a time there 'til I found myself shut in & unable to get out. For weeks I remain'd locked in the cellar, unnotic'd & forgotten. I suppose it was an easy thing, to not wonder where Thankful might be ... what with the reverend's incessant complaining & lecturing & the entire household being turn'd upside down. Still, a diet of root crops can get rather old after awhile.
Oh ... must run! I'll tell ye about the cellar & freedom's deliverance next time. Yes, freedom ... for that, I'm Thankful!
How goes it with you boys? 'Tis been awhile since last I wrote. I've been quite overwork'd & haven't any time to write about the going ons about Mohicanland, which, interestingly, have been mighty interesting! 'Tis a funny thing, it is. All the English I've ever known here in the colony have been rather frumpy about havin' fun. Dancin' & singin' haven't met with much approval in these hereabouts, which is to be expected in a Calvinist region. It takes a Scot or a Dutchman, says my papa, to get a good laugh about here. True, they both be known to favor the drink but they surely know how to tell a good joke! Anyway, the recent arrival of one Englishwoman who goes by the name of Miss Lucy Lastik has changed my opinion on particular matters. Not only does this woman looooove to drink like no one I've ever seen, she looooves to dance, too! In fact, she's gone & established a dancin' house right here in the colony! What's more, I've heard tell they do a bit more than dance at the House of Hoo-Haa. Scandalous happenings, so I'm told, but 'tis ain't my affaire to put a stop to the hoo-haa. 'Tis made life in these parts a bit more excitin' & for that, I'm Thankful.
Now, about the hoo-haa; I hear Miss Lucy Lastik is fast becomin' a wealthy woman by way of her 'interestin establishment.' Seems to be no shortage of hoo-haa seekin' gents, only a shortage of good linen for proper ladies' attire, or so it'd seem by the look of Miss Lucy Lastik & her ladies in employ. Another interestin' fact ... it seems Miss Lucy has taken to the ways of Miss Mary Long Carabine, sometimes known as Doctor Mary, Medicine Woman, & gone & hir'd herself a bunch of Huron Helpers. I don't exactly know what exactly these Huron Boys do but I do know they been carryin' heavy pouches full of good English silver. They must be worth their weight in gold, I'd think. Well, anyway, the Huron Boys seem to be causing a stir with Doctor Mary, Medicine Woman 'cause she's been cussin' & yellin' & stickin' pins in little dolls that look curiously a bit like Miss Lucy Lastik. She's even taken to settin' out little traps to catch some of them Huron Boys gone astray. She puts shiny tin cups filled with Spruce Beer in some well hidden bear traps. When the Boys come lookin' to quench their thirst, SNAP!!! They find themselves caught on the wrong side of the traps & the sound of "BWAHHAHAHAHA!" can be heard comin' from the wood. That Doctor Mary, Medicine Woman sure is determin'd to get her Boys back!
Oh, one more interestin' thing ... seems Master MacLachlan has anger'd Mrs. O'Reilly by tryin' to hire her latest tavern wench. What happen'd is dreadful & sure to make ye blush. Oh, I don't know that I ought to tell ye what happen'd, it bein' consider'd gossip & all ... but;
Oh! Have to go now. I hear Nu'hum callin' & she sounds fit to be tied! There's always next time & for that, I'm Thankful.
'Twas a long time since I last shar'd a look at the colony's daily manners & customs, & I hadn't plann'd to write again 'til next harvest moon - just to let you sneak a peak at poor Richard's almanac, which was once unjustly stolen by Master Franklin & shamelessly print'd all over Philadelphia. Though I doubt the almanac's entry for this harvest moon will be revealin', it ought at least to contain a small Thanks givin' &, for that, I'm curious & Thankful.
Since I last took quill to paper there have been curious events in the colony. One I ought to tell you about concerns a mysterious gentleman nam'd Golden Stan who claims to be from the Spanish colony in the south. I don't know if'n you should believe this claim as the gentleman doesn't seem to converse in the Spanish tongue at all but knows English very well. Never the less, he does go by the name 'Golden' Stan & rumours say the Spanish colony has lots of gold. True or no, this Stan has been hangin' about Bumppo's Tavern claimin' I, Thankful Daniels, am known to be a frequent patron of the infamous establishment. He's even gone so far as to publickly post ads regardin' my tavern habits, which I steadfastly deny, & has let it be known he's pick'd up my trail at Bumppo's. Nu'hum would be furious if'n she heard these fanciful tales so I want to publickly deny all claims regardin' my suppos'd patronage of the drinkin' house & also inquire of Master Stan if'n there'd be gold on the table should I decide to present myself at Bumppo's. Should the gentleman kindly reply I would be very Thankful.
In a related bit of colony gossip, there was a surplus of ale & brandy stor'd in Bumppo's cold cellar, a consequence of Bumppo's best patron, the Dutch Trader, havin' run off to the English penal colony of Australia. Now, I can't say for certain how 'twas the Dutch Trader came to be shippin' off to the colony of prisoners. Some say 'twas by order of His Majesty, a consequence of the Dutch Trader's fondness for tradin' in illegal goods. Others claim the Dutch Trader went lookin' for an "Aussie g'day mate." Whatever the cause, rumours have it the Dutch Trader is settin' sail for a return voyage to our colony. Of course, that surplus at Bumppo's won't be suitably present'd upon Dutchie's arrival as Reverend Wheelock had all the barrels burn'd. I know the Boston periodicals inform'd their readers of the reverend's "successful sin stompin' sobriety show" in Mohicanland, however, the facts of the brandy burnin' are a bit less zealous. It seems Reverend Wheelock somehow got himself into Bumppo's cold cellar, though the cellar was under lock & barrel, once he heard news of the surplus drink. After successfully depositin' himself through the cellar's tiny air portal the good reverend proceed'd to "sample, swig, & sufficiently imbibe" 'til he became overly intoxicat'd. Next, the revelin' reverend lit his pipe (no one knew he smok'd since he'd often preach'd against the tobacco vice) & somehow manag'd to set fire to some brandy. Next thing he knew, the whole world was on fire & Bumppo had to kick down the cold cellar door, which wasn't very cold anymore, & drag the soot cover'd, smilin' reverend to safety. Unfortunately for Bumppo's, the stor'd barrels of ale & brandy had all caught fire & a blaze roar'd so fiercely the reverend comment'd what a pity 'twas he hadn't any books to burn.
One last bit of news before I take my leave ... Miss Lucy Lastik's House of Hoo Haa has reopen'd for business. Though Nu'hum says the "wench ought to taste a Huron fire" for "sellin' her wares in my territory," the gentlemen population of the colony seem to be pleas'd. One enthusiastic patron of Bumppo's suggest'd Miss Lucy Lastik might "ought to consider employin' more apprentices" but for Doctor Mary's known objections against "ministrations & arts practic'd without so much as a by my leave." I know it's gossip & I shouldn't be tellin' but ... Miss Lucy was seen in the mercantile purchasin' yards & yards of "fancy red cloth." When the Mohicaan Bountyess inquir'd whether she want'd tight weave, Miss Lucy repli'd, "Silk." Ought to be an interestin' harvest moon after all. And for that, I'm Thankful.
MOHICAN GENESIS || FROM THE MOHICANS' LAND TO MOHICANLAND || SIX DEGREES TO LOTM || ALICE IN MOHICANLAND.... An Essay || MR. TWAIN'S CRITIQUING OFFENSES || MOHICANS 101 || THE COURIER || THE COURIER CLASSIFIEDS || DEAR DOCTOR MARY || DOCTOR MARY'S THERAPY ROOM || COUSIN EUGENIE SPEAKS OUT ... || LETTERS TO THE EDITORS || TREKKING IN THE WILDERNESS || THE Mac WILLIAM CHRONICLES PHOTO GALLERY || THE MOHICANLAND MASSES || WHAT MAKES IT ALL WORTHWHILE ... Visitor Comments || THE VOLLEY FIRE || OPINE, O'MINE!